Sunday, January 17, 2010

Are teams starting to spend Yankee bucks?

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, with a push from the players' union, is finally telling small-market teams to spend money on their players, rather than stuffing the dollars they get from the richer teams, primarily the New York Yankees, into their pockets. The Florida Marlins took the first step this week, signing pitcher Josh Johnson to a four-year, $39 million deal.

Yankee officials have long been frustrated by the fact that other teams spend the money they receive from the Bronx Bombers to pay down their corporate debt or improve their profitability by hoarding the money rather than expanding their payrolls.

Of course, a major benefit for the Yankees is that when teams such as the Marlins or the Pittsburgh Pirates decide they can't afford their players, they trade them away for virtually nothing or let them go as free agents. This is how the Yanks recently ended up with guys like Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. Of course, it's also how they ended up with Carl Pavano, so I guess it's a mixed blessing.

Yankee fans have long been spoiled by the fact that George Steinbrenner would spend whatever he thought was necessary to get his team a World Series title. But things have changed in baseball, with even his son Hal having a budget. Of course, it's a budget around $200 million so the Yanks will never be accused of being frugal. But it really irks them that other teams don't share a similar commitment. It's time that changes and this represents a good first step.

Thanks to MissChatter via Wikipedia for the photo.

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